Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Republican Primary Registration Under Way

With the Republican primary less than two weeks away, Westport’s Office of the Registrars of Voters has announced that it will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for voter registration, while online registrations and changes can be completed at https://voterregistration.ct.gov.

The deadline for in-person registration for the Aug. 12 Republican Primary is Monday, Aug. 11 at noon, according to the office.

Officials noted that registration applications hand-delivered by persons other than the applicant must be received by Thursday, Aug. 7 to qualify for the primary. Mailed-in registration applications also must be postmarked no later than Aug. 7 and received by noon Monday, Aug. 11.

Additionally, online registration applications must be completed by Thursday, Aug. 7, officials said. For further information, contact the Registrars of Voters Office at 203-341-1115 or visit the Registrars’ page .

Posted 07:48 PM
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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

McKinney-Walker to Begin TV Ads

The Republican gubernatorial ticket of John P. McKinney and his running mate, David M. Walker, said today they have qualified for $1.35 million in public financing for the GOP primary and will begin airing their first television commercial.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has concluded its review of their $250,000 in qualifying contributions, but the formal approval will not come until next week—just four weeks before the Aug. 12 primary.

The campaign said the informal approval will allow them to “begin activities this week.”

A campaign spokeswoman said the candidates filmed a commercial Monday that soon will go on the air, allowing them to compete with Tom Foley, the GOP convention-endorsed candidate for governor, who began his TV campaign Monday.


Posted 08:44 PM
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Thursday, July 03, 2014

Congressional Gridlock Could Stall 80 CT Transportation Projects

By Keith M. Phaneuf


More than 80 Connecticut highway, bridge and rail projects are at risk of delay if Congress cannot resolve a partisan standoff over a new infrastructure funding bill by October, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said today.

After meeting with U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Connecticut’s congressional delegation, Malloy said he fears political gridlock could eat away at the state’s construction job base.

“If we don’t get out to bid” before the federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1, “then we lose 12 months” for dozens of projects, Malloy told reporters following the meeting.

President Obama’s administration has struggled to build support in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives for his proposed, $302 billion infrastructure bill.

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Posted 08:13 PM
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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

On Third Try, Foley Wins Public Financing for Campaign

By Mark Pazniokas


It took three tries and another round of fundraising, but Republican Tom Foley’s application for the public financing of his campaign for governor was approved today by the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

The commission also approved applications for Attorney General George Jepsen, a Democrat, and Heather Bond Somers, one of three Republican candidates for lieutenant governor.

Foley had twice failed to meet the qualifying threshold of $250,000 in individual contributions of no more than $100, but he exceeded the mark after submitting $16,549 in additional donations. The application of his opponent in the GOP primary, Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney of Fairfield, will be considered next week.

Foley, 62, a Greenwich businessman who largely self-funded his unsuccessful 2010 campaign, now is entitled to a $1,354,250 million grant for the Aug. 12 primary. If he wins, Foley will get $6,500,400 for the general election, the same as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

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Posted 07:56 PM
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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Murphy, Himes Get Local Input on Iraq

By James Lomuscio

Despite it being a warm summer day, about 60 concerned citizens turned out late today for a Westport Town Hall forum to talk about the worsening situation in Iraq.

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U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (r) explains the sectarian divisions in Iraq as U.S. Rep. Jim Himes listens. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Democrats U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes hosted the session in Room 201. First Selectman Jim Marpe welcomed them.

The question on everyone’s mind was what the United States—which has lost almost 4,500 soldiers in iraq since 2003—should do as Sunni insurgents led by ISIS jihadist forces make territorial gains and seek to overrun Baghdad.

Westporter Gene Cederbaum said democracy was not something embraced by tribal nations.

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Posted 01:02 AM
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Monday, June 30, 2014

Diageo, Pfizer Pay to Settle 2012 DNC Ethics Violation

By Mark Pazniokas


The pep talk for the Connecticut delegation to the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., came from the host, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. But the drinks were on the worldwide beverage company, Diageo North America.

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was guest at the 2012 Diageo reception. So was Westport’s Martha Aasen (r). (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org photo

Nearly two years later, Diageo and Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company that hosted a separate reception, are each paying $5,000 to the Office of State Ethics, conceding they failed to report the receptions as a lobbying expense.

In settlements released today, both companies said they failure was inadvertent, based on an erroneous belief that neither function exceeded the reporting threshold of $10 per person. Each has filed supplemental expense reports.

“Lobbyist reports must fully disclose all expenses as required by the Code of Ethics,” said Carol Carson, executive director of the Office of State Ethics.  “It is worth noting that the public officials and employees that attended did not violate the Code, because the total cost per person did not exceed the $50 limit.”

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Posted 10:52 PM
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Business Community, Legislators Address Ailing State

By James Lomuscio

The four state legislators at the Westport Library’s legislative wrap up public forum today admitted that the closing General Assembly’s session was far from dynamic.

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Legislators participatingin today’s forum included (l-r) state Sen John McKinney, Rep. Gail Lavielle, Rep. Johnathan Steinbeg, and Sen. Toni Boucher. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“It was not an ambitious session,” state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg of Westport, a Democrat, told an audience of about 30 in the McManus Room. “We did not want to put any more burdens on businesses, contrasted to the efforts two years ago to help businesses that are finally bearing fruit.”

The forum, sponsored by the Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce (WWCC) and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) also included state Rep. Gail Lavielle, Sen. John McKinney, and Sen. Toni Boucher, all Republicans, and all who represent portions of Westport. And it it offered some sobering statistics for the state of the state, and what is needed to turn course.

Bonnie Stewart, CBIA vice president government affairs, introduced by WWCC President Matthew Mandell, moderated the forum.

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Posted 04:39 PM
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Foley, McKinney Find Common Ground at GOP Forum

By Keith M. Phaneuf


Republican gubernatorial contenders Tom Foley and John McKinney found more common ground than points of contention toight as they squared off for the first time in a campaign forum.

Addressing the Connecticut chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors at the Sheraton Hartford South in Rocky Hill, the GOP candidates pledged to reduce state spending and taxes while slamming Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for Connecticut’s sluggish recovery from the last recession.

They also found agreement on economic development and transportation issues, while taking modestly different stands on state employee concessions and highway

“People are really upset. They are angry,” said Foley, a Greenwich businessman and the party’s 2010 gubernatorial nominee. “They think something has been taken away from them, … their prospects for the future.”

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Posted 02:24 AM
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Dems Seek Board of Assessment Appeals Replacement

The Westport Democratic Town Committee is seeking candidates to recommend for a vacancy on the Board of Assessment Appeals (BAA) created by the recent resignation of Jeff Jacobs, who has moved out of town.

The successful candidate will serve from the date of appointment until November 2017.

The BAA handles appeals in three areas: real estate, personal property, and vehicles. It meets in March and September of each year.

Anyone interested in being considered for appointment is required to a registered Democrat. Those wishing to be recommended by the Democratic Town Committee will interviewed separately by the DTC and the BAA prior to appointment, according to DTC Chair John Hartwell.

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Posted 10:31 PM
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Monday, June 23, 2014

Himes Says House-Approved NSA Restrictions Too Broad

By Ann Radalet


Washington – Rep. Jim Himes was in the minority of lawmakers – and the only member of the Connecticut delegation – to vote today against an amendment that would end the National Security Agency’s practice of warrantless “back door searches” of the contents of American phone calls and e-mails.

The NSA had collected this information when it swept up information on targeted foreigners. But, given the vastness of NSA databases, information on Americans’ communications was also swept up.

An amendment to the defense appropriations bill introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., would prohibit the NSA from collecting data from warrantless searches on Americans. It was approved on a 293-123 vote.

The amendment would also block the NSA and CIA from forcing software and hardware providers to include “back door” technology in their products that allow these government agencies easy access to customer communications.

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Posted 10:38 PM
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

SEEC Grants Malloy Campaign Funds, Rejects Complaint

By Mark Pazniokas


On separate votes today, the State Elections Enforcement Commission dismissed allegations of illegal fundraising and campaigning by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and approved a $6.5 million public financing grant for the re-election campaign of Malloy and his running mate, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.

The commission postponed a vote on the public financing application by Tom Foley, one of three Republicans running for governor. Its examination found that Foley had not yet met the qualifying threshold of raising $250,000 in contributions of no more than $100 each.

“This committee has raised $264,148 in contributions. To date they have qualified $220,977. To date they have not met threshold,” said Linda Waterman, director of campaign disclosure and audit for the commission.

Chris Cooper, a spokesman for Foley, said the campaign believes that further documentation will allow sufficient contributions to be qualified. It hopes to win approval of its application next week, he said.

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Posted 10:41 PM
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Boughton Drops Out of GOP Governor’s Race

By Mark Pazniokas


Struggling to qualify for public financing, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton today ended his campaign for governor with a call for Republicans to unite behind the convention-endorsed candidate, Tom Foley.

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Mayor Mark Boughton of Danbury watching the count at the GOP convention in May. Ctmirror.org photo

“It’s been my honor to seek Connecticut’s highest statewide office,” Boughton said. “However, I now believe it is time to suspend my candidacy and call for party unity behind the endorsed Republican candidate, Tom Foley.”

Foley still faces a primary with Senate Minority Leader John P. McKinney of Fairfield, whose prospects likely improved with Boughton’s withdrawal. McKinney could not be reached for comment, and Foley’s campaign spokesman was surprised by the news.

\It seemed evident that Boughton’s running mate, Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, would fall short of the signatures necessary to qualify for the primary ballot. Without Lauretti to help raise funds—a ticket can pool its contributions—Boughton had no ready means of raising the $250,000 in contributions necessary to qualify for public financing.

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Posted 07:32 PM
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Liz Milwe Returns to the RTM

Liz Milwe, who served on the Representative Town Meeting from 2005 to 2011, will rejoin the town’s 36-member legislative body representing District 1.

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Liz Milwe: selected by fellow District 1 representatives. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

RTM Moderator Eileen Lavigne Flug said she was the choice of the three remaining District 1 members Monday to fill the vacancy created by the resignation in May of Don Bergmann and will serve until November 2015. Martin Bell, a fellow resident of Saugatuck Shores, was the only other candidate interviewed.

Milwe, who was one of the original four RTM members who successfully pushed through the town’s plastic bag ban in 2009, did not seek re-election in November 2011.

She was originally appointed to the RTM in 2005 when she lived in District 4 and not enough candidates appeared on the ballot from the district. She subsequently was elected in her own right from District 4 in 2007 and from District 1 in 2009.

Posted 12:40 AM
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Monday, June 16, 2014

At Himes Roundtable, Snowden Hero and Traitor

By James Lomuscio

Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who a year ago leaked the agency’s sweeping surveillance to the media and fled the country, got both sweeping support and condemnation at a domestic surveillance roundtable held in the Westport Library’s McManus Room today.

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Appearing at today’s forum with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (c) were Mike German (l), a former FBI agent, and David McGuire, staff attorney for the Connecticut Civil Liberties Union. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Before an audience of 80, Westporter Sal Liccione asked U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, former FBI agent Mike German and David McGuire, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, if they would favor criminal prosecution of Snowden if he were to return from Russia.

Himes, who serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was quick to label Snowden as a traitor.

“The idea that he is a hero is just plain wrong,” said Himes, a Democrat seeking reelection to Connecticut’s 4th District.

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Posted 10:16 PM
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CT AFL-CIO Mocks Foley: ‘Did I Say Something Funny?’

By Mark Pazniokas


New Haven – Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley was greeted with derisive laughter today as he told a dubious Connecticut AFL-CIO that his call for a “Wisconsin moment” was simply a plea to end one-party Democratic rule in Connecticut, not to undermine collective bargaining rights.

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Tom Foley addressing the AFL-CIO today in New Haven. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Ctmirror.org photo

“Did I say something funny?” Foley asked, looking at labor delegates in the ballroom of the Omni Hotel.

“Yeah. Yeah,” delegates shouted in response.

Foley was followed to the stage by Lee Saunders, the national president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the first-term Democrat certain to win the AFL-CIO’s endorsement Tuesday.

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Posted 08:46 PM
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